Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nashville's Oktoberfest Kicks Off This Friday With a Party at Christie Cookie

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 2:51 PM

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Nashville's Oktoberfest in the Germantown neighborhood is set for this weekend, kicking off with a party hosted by Christie Cookie. It starts at 3 p.m. Friday at the cookie company's headquarters at 1205 Third Ave. N., featuring live bluegrass music, giveaways and free Christie Cookies and other special desserts (paired with cold milk and/or a Yazoo beer). The party will be followed by the Oktoberfest kickoff parade at 6 p.m.

The kickoff event is free and open to all ages, and no ticket is needed for entry, though they've requested that volks planning to attend RSVP just to give them an idea of the crowd to expect. Parking is available in the Christie Cookie lot across from the bakery on Third Avenue North, as well as on the streets throughout the Germantown neighborhood (though take note of which streets will be closed). 

Admission to Oktoberfest is also free and open to all ages throughout the weekend. In addition to all kinds of food, drink and entertainment for adults, the festival is family-friendly, and a portion of the festival area will be dedicated to the Kids Zone. Vendors will be on site selling food, beer and other beverages and crafts.

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Beverage News: Embers Launches New Cocktails and Classes; TailGate Wins at World Beer Awards

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 7:37 AM

click to enlarge Gingerbread Old Fashioned
  • Gingerbread Old Fashioned
While it has become the norm for local restaurants to almost completely change up their menus seasonally to emphasize what is fresh from the fields, it is a bit more unusual for bars to swap out just about every cocktail on their menu seasonally. The Patterson House has been a leader in creating new cocktails for the season, and other favorite local watering holes do try to keep their menus fresh with the occasional new addition. But it's rare to see a restaurant or bar overhaul a roster of what were already popular cocktails in the way Embers Ski Lodge has done recently.

Since it opened in the spring, Bites readers have been fairly blunt in their disdain for the kitschy lodge decor at Embers, but I haven't heard many comments about what I personally think is one of the most inventive cocktail menus in town. Plus, Embers has one of the deepest collections of bourbons and whiskeys in Nashville, 170-plus and rising at last count, and I would think that fact would be something that would attract Nashville brown likker fans. (And you are legion.)

Hopefully, the whole ski lodge deal will make a little more sense now that the weather is finally turning colder, and the recent addition of a sun-blocking film on the large west-facing front windows might make it a little easier to imagine you're enjoying an après-ski experience when it's not 90 degrees inside the bar area. 

Bar program creative director Gary Hayward and his bar staff have put together a new list of cocktails that I contend warrants another visit if you can get past the interior. Hint: Stare straight ahead into your glass if the decor makes you uneasy. At $12, the drinks are right around the median price of craft cocktails in Nashville (prices have gone up in recent years — perhaps a side effect of our It City status). Putting that aside, I think this list stands up against any other in town.

Only two of Embers' specialty cocktails made the transition from the old summer menu to the new fall list: the rum-based Ajax and the apparently ironically named Essence of the Past. The rest of the menu emphasizes autumnal flavors that will hopefully get you (me) past the current pumpkin spice fatigue brought on by Starbucks and craft breweries. The menu kicks off with a page of historical notes about whiskey and bourbon through the ages, and then continues the historical theme with the organization of the cocktail list.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Join Jennifer Justus for Nashville Eats Book Release Party at The Family Wash

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 11:01 AM

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Nashville Eats, the latest cookbook from author and food writer Jennifer Justus will be fêted at a book release party tomorrow night (Tuesday, Oct. 6) at the freshly relocated Family Wash on Main Street in East Nashville. The book contains more than 100 recipes inspired by Nashville cuisine and by Nashvillians, including recipes for hot chicken, buttermilk biscuits, fried catfish and chess pie, as well as a few twists on the local cuisine influenced by other cultures such as catfish tacos and curried black chickpeas.

Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with food provided by the restaurant, including their masa hushpuppies. Live music from American Watermelon features songs from the book's kitchen playlists and starts at 6 p.m. Parnassus Books will have hard copies of the book available for sale.

If you can’t make it to the party Tuesday evening, Justus will be at the Barnes & Noble Vanderbilt this Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 7 p.m. Justus will talk about the book, sign copies, share music from the song lists, and serve pimento goat cheese, a recipe from the book inspired by Noble Springs Dairy.

Nashville Eats Book Release Party
5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6
The Family Wash
626A Main St.

Nashville Eats Book Signing
7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7
Barnes & Noble Vanderbilt
2501 West End Ave.

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Chef Marcus Samuelsson to Cook at Adele's Tomorrow Night

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 9:10 AM

click to enlarge Chefs Samuelsson and Waxman
  • Chefs Samuelsson and Waxman
By the time I heard that tickets were on sale for the next in Jonathan Waxman's "Chef's Night Out" series at Adele's tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 6), tickets had already sold out, a testament to the reputation of the talented Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised chef best known for his Harlem restaurant Red Rooster and his memoir Yes, Chef. (Full disclosure: Chef Samuelsson used to own another food website where I occasionally contribute.) So even though I thought it was a pretty important event for Nashville that a chef of his caliber was coming to town, I didn't share the news since nobody likes to hear about a dinner that they can't attend.

But I did a little digging and discovered that, in a rare move when it comes to guest chef dinners, Adele's has actually set aside 20 tickets for tomorrow night's meal for walk-ups, and they encourage folks to drop in and see if there is space available. The evening will start off with a cocktail hour at 6:30 followed by a four-course dinner paired with wine or a cocktail. Samuelsson will collaborate on the menu with Waxman and Adele's chef Travis McShane, and guests will have the opportunity to interact with all three of them throughout the course of the evening.

If this sounds like something that's up your alley, tickets for the dinner are $80 per person plus tax and gratuity. Show up a little early to see if there is room at the table and enjoy a cocktail at the bar until it's time to ... well, enjoy another cocktail at 6:30.

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Nathalie Dupree and David Shields Plan 'Fireside Chat' About Southern Food

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 8:15 AM

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Nathalie Dupree is a Southern food expert and cookbook author who  was named to the James Beard Who’s Who in America in 2015 in recognition for her work with regional cuisine. I have been fortunate enough to moderate a panel discussion featuring Dupree at the Southern Festival of Books, and I can tell you that "moderate" is a generous term. An engaging and brilliant speaker, Dupree needed little more than a kickstart to fill an hour with fascinating insight into Southern food and its preparation.

That's why it's so exciting to hear that Dupree is scheduled to come to town this Friday, Oct. 9, for a "fireside chat" at Green Door Gourmet along with another Southern food historian, David Shields. A professor at the University of South Carolina and chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, Shields is best known for recounting the history of the creation and revival of Low Country food with his Making the South Edible, and for his newest book, Southern Provisions.

Sylvia Ganier, the owner of Green Door Gourmet is especially excited to host the event. “Nathalie and David are truly experts of Southern food, America’s quintessential cuisine. This fireside chat offers an intimate setting for them to discuss their books and their passion around Southern cuisine to local food lovers.”

Both authors will be signing their recent books, and a limited number of books will be available during the event. Southern Provisions — a Fireside Chat will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Green Door Gourmet, 7011 River Road Pike in Nashville. Tickets are $45 each, and include beverages and appetizers. Purchase tickets at the event website.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Col. Harlan Sanders & Co. Take On Nashville's Own Hot Chicken

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 2:24 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO: KFC.COM
  • Photo: KFC.com
The team at KFC/Yum! Brands have done it again... In 2010, they released the “Double Down”, a “sandwich” with so much chicken they decided to replace the bread with … chicken. Yesterday, the company announced they would be expanding their menu to include Nashville Hot Chicken, the dish most near and dear to the hearts and stomachs of generations of Music City faithful.

In the truest form of flattery, KFC.com states that “The Colonel's latest creation was inspired by one of Nashville’s most famous dishes.”

It adds, "Featuring a perfect blend of spicy cayenne and smoke paprika, it's available in both tenders and chicken on the bone."

Those eager to see if Col. Sanders' “creation” lives up to the high standard set by Prince’s and a long list of fine establishments in our city will have to wait — or book a flight to the Iron City. That’s right, Kentucky Fried Chicken will only be testing their Nashville Hot Chicken in Pittsburgh, though the website promises it will soon be available nationwide.

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Bad Bitches Coming to Nashville From Charleston for Chefs' Dinner Oct. 26

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 9:49 AM

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A group of bold female food and drink professionals in Charleston, S.C., have taken it upon themselves to preach for empowerment among women in the community. Earlier this year, former Fig sous chef Sarah Adams, Kelly Kleisner of Mirabelle Bakery, and Randi Weinstein of Butcher and Bee came together to form a new group they call Bad Bitches. In their first half-year of existence, the Bad Bitches have put on a series of events in Chucktown to raise more than $50,000 for a scholarship fund dedicated to the continuing education of women in the hospitality industry.

Now they are bringing their party to Nashville with an event coming up on Monday, Oct. 26, hosted by Sarah Gavigan at POP Nashville. They are partnering with the local chapter of the Pink Boots Society for a Halloween-themed event they are calling "Bad Bitches Brew." The dinner will showcase the skills of local luminaries Deb Paquette of Etch, Maneet Chauhan of Chauhan Masala & Ale House, Allie Lane from Little Octopus, Rebekah Turshen of City House, Kayla May of Blushing Berry and Josephine, Lisa Donovan of Buttermilk Road and Chelsey Conrad of Butcher and Bee Charleston, along with Adams. The chefs will be joined by female brewers of Nashville, including folks from Tennessee Brew Works, Jackalope, Corsair, Mayday and Black Abbey, to feature special small-batch beers chosen to be paired with all courses.

Boys are certainly allowed in this girls' club, but it will definitely be a night for the ladies to shine. Event proceeds will benefit the Pink Boots Society Nashville, for the continuing education of women in beer, and the Bad Bitches Scholarship fund. Tickets for the Bad Bitches Brew are $85 plus fees and are available at the event's website.

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Weekly Open Thread: What's Your Favorite Fall Beverage?

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 8:46 AM

  • The Loving Pie Company on Facebook
Most folks change their beverage preferences according to the season. Icy and sprightly rule the summer, warm and full-bodied ascend in the fall. Now that autumn weather is setting in, it's time to rethink our drinks.

In September, sommelier Pete Holland wrote a Scene Dining column about red wines suitable for fall. Holland says: "I want from a fall wine the same thing I want from the other palliatives of autumn; what I want when I grab a scarf on the way out the door, and what I want when I look around for an espresso after stepping off the bus into a cold wind — the feeling that as long as I have this, right now, everything will be all right."

That strikes a chord with us at Bites, but we're also pretty omnivorous with our beverages: We love not just wine and beer (including the auburn, malty brews of autumn) but also coffee and cocoa and hot apple cider. (Enjoying warm cider and fresh hot doughnuts at an apple mill in Michigan is one of my earliest memories.)

My colleague Megan Seling points that The Loving Pie Company recently announced on Facebook and Instagram that they have brought back Hot Chocolate Flights for fall. Huzzah!

How about you, Bites Nation? What are your favorite fall drinks? And what else is on your mind?

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Gourmet Mac, Iced Coffee, Pear Cider and More That You Don't Have to Miss From Music City Food + Wine

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2015 at 7:57 AM

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By now, you may have had your fill of FOMO from reading recaps of the Music City Food + Wine Festival. But wait! This one is different. Sure, you missed a lot of stuff at the festival, but the great part is that you can check out much of it any time you want. Because along with a number of restaurants serving special bites (and big-name chefs serving at Harvest Night), there were a number of retail products you can buy just any ol’ time.

Dan’s Gourmet Mac and Cheese (pictured) — which has grown quite a bit from humble beginnings at farmers markets — is available in the freezer section of local Kroger stores as well as all across the country and online. You can find Corner Market Catering foods at their West Nashville store or several other stores around the city. Also available all around town is Switters Iced Coffee. Though the Lemonade Iced Coffee I tasted at the festival is a bit hard to find. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? It’s crazy delicious, though. Trust.

For your sweet tooth, there’s no doubt you already know that you can get Christie Cookies and Goo Goo Clusters — both made right here in Nashville — just about any time you want them. Goo Goo was sampling every premium Goo Goo from the Summer Chef’s Series, which you might still be able to get at the Goo Goo Store. Olive and Sinclair was also at the festival with their chocolates as well as candies from their new brand, Seersucker Candy Company. Those Cherry Bombs (pickled cherry cordials) and Muzzle Loaders (salted bourbon caramel-filled chocolates) are fantastic.

The adult beverage selection at the festival was (as always) overwhelming. Because of the heat, I tried to take it easy, so I stuck with gin cocktails from Hendrick’s and Jack Rudy Cocktail Company on day one and then Sixty One from Dogfish Head Brewery and The Infinite Monkey Theorem Dry Hopped Pear Cider on day two. If you want to try the Dogfish Head, it's currently on tap at Cochon Butcher (and likely elsewhere around town). The pear cider is available at Midtown Wine and Spirits. Hendrick's and Jack Rudy artisanal tonics are available just about everywhere.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Nashville Cake Artist Renay Zamora Competes on Halloween Wars

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2015 at 11:23 AM

click to enlarge Renay Zamora (right) with Halloween Wars teammates  Rebecca Wortman and Doug Goodreau - FOODNETWORK.COM
  • foodnetwork.com
  • Renay Zamora (right) with Halloween Wars teammates Rebecca Wortman and Doug Goodreau
Renay Zamora of Sweetface Cakes doesn’t hesitate to inform you, when asked, that she prefers the title of cake artist to that of baker. And the Nashville-based master of the dessert arts tells the Scene she takes the “artist” part of her job seriously.

“I prefer not to just say baker, not that I’m fooling anyone by not saying it,” she adds with a laugh, “but I prefer the creative side of it over just the baking.”

Zamora’s creativity will be on full display this Sunday, Oct. 4, 8 p.m. when the new season of Food Network’s Halloween Wars kicks off. Zamora will be a contestant on this year’s four-episode season of the perennial fall fan favorite, facing off against four other teams of three in a contest of will, determination and fondant.

The teams, each consisting of an expert pumpkin carver, a cake decorator, and a sugar artist, are all competing for a grand prize and the title of Halloween Wars champion.

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